New York Giants: Jayron Hosley

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's foolish to read anything into preseason results or even stats, for that matter. But there are aspects of these games that can ring alarm bells. For the New York Giants so far this preseason, penalties have been a major issue.

The Giants were called for 10 penalties for a total of 109 yards in Saturday's exhibition victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. That brings their two-game preseason total to 16 penalties for 158 yards.

Of those 16 flags, eight have been thrown downfield in the secondary, where the Giants were hit Saturday night with two defensive holding penalties, two pass interference penalties on Jayron Hosley and an illegal contact penalty on Prince Amukamara that was declined. With officials emphasizing downfield contact this year, it's clear the Giants' defensive backs are going to have to alter something about the way they're playing.

"There's no contact allowed at all," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "You bump into each other shoulder to shoulder, and it's going to be a penalty. We've got to do a better job of coaching it. There are a couple of situations I think the officials are going to have to get sorted out as well, but it's something we're going to have to address."

Earlier in the week, Giants cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta said the coaches were spending time reviewing practice tape with the defensive backs and addressing plays that are going to be called as penalties this year that may not have been in the past. Amukamara said the officials have told the players "there's not going to be a 'healthy five,'" anymore -- meaning that officials will strictly enforce the prohibition against contact more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage, as opposed to letting things go at maybe six or seven as they have in the past.

Now, to Coughlin's point about the officials, it's preseason for them too. And NFL games are increasingly difficult to officiate in real time. When new rules and points of emphasis are installed each year, the preseason is the time for the officials to figure out how to enforce and administrate them. Just because so many of these calls are getting made around the league in these preseason games doesn't automatically mean you're going to see flags flying on every play come the season. But the Giants' defensive backs are playing an aggressive style, and this year it's one that might get them in more trouble than it used to.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants right guard Brandon Mosley pulled left and helped center J.D. Walton open up what Rashad Jennings would later call a "gaping hole." Jennings ran through it and all the way to the end zone, 73 yards for a touchdown on the Giants' second possession of Saturday night's 20-16 exhibition victory over the Steelers.

It was a beautifully designed and executed play. It was all the Giants' first-team offense did well.

Eli Manning was on the field for 12 snaps and threw two passes, completing neither. The Giants' new offense remains a work in progress with 30 days to go until their "Monday Night Football" opener in Detroit.

Some other thoughts on the Giants' second preseason game:
  • You want to know who's leading the race for starting tight end? The Giants ran 26 offensive plays in the first half, and Larry Donnell was on the field for 25 of them. The only other tight end who even played in the first half was Kellen Davis, who was in on four plays, all of which also included Donnell. I think the Giants would like to be able to give Daniel Fells a longer look, but he is injured and did not play. Adrien Robinson is doing nothing in practice to help himself.
  • Rookie defensive tackle Jay Bromley, the team's third-round pick, looked good in the second half against the Steelers' backup line, getting into the backfield to snuff out a run play and putting pressure on the quarterback.
  • Cornerback Charles James muffed a punt in the third quarter -- not the kind of thing that's going to help the feisty return man make a team that has this many good cornerbacks. Preston Parker replaced him on the next punt return.
  • The "NASCAR" package of four pass-rushers on third downs featured Cullen Jenkins and Robert Ayers at defensive tackle, with Mathias Kiwanuka and Jason Pierre-Paul at end when the first team was in the game.
  • The Giants were flagged for 10 penalties for a total of 109 yards. Of those, two were Jayron Hosley pass-interference penalties of 12 and 47 yards. Zack Bowman was called for illegal contact and Mark Herzlich was called for defensive holding (though he wasn't on the field that play, so it's unclear which Giants defender was flagged). Bennett Jackson received a five-yard holding call. And Prince Amukamara was whistled for an illegal-contact penalty that was declined. Giants defensive backs continue to struggle with the new rules/points of emphasis governing illegal downfield contact.
  • Amukamara made a great play to run down speedy Pittsburgh rookie Dri Archer on a 46-yard screen pass that looked to be a sure touchdown. It's the second time in two games Amukamara has shown the speed to keep up with a touted rookie, as he covered Buffalo's Sammy Watkins well Sunday night.
  • Jerrel Jernigan struggled badly with the first-team offense, and the Giants are eager for rookie Odell Beckham Jr. to get healthy and take over that spot.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The first preseason game of the year is a test for everyone and everything it involves, including changes to the NFL's rules and officiating guidelines. This year, two of the officials "points of emphasis" will involve downfield contact by defensive backs against wide receivers. Four different New York Giants cornerbacks were called for penalties in Sunday's game, and that's absolutely a point the coaches are stressing in meetings this week.

"We've just got to continue to compete downfield and know what they're going to call," Giants cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta said Tuesday. "We've just got to be a little less aggressive with our hands downfield. You want to hand-fight the guys and not let them push us off, but we have to realize what the rules are and the emphasis this year, especially the tugs on the jersey. We've got to eliminate that from our play."

In their visits to training camps this year, NFL officials are speaking to players (and the media -- thanks, guys!) about the new rules and points of emphasis. The two that pertain in this case are as follows:
  • The prohibition against grabbing of receivers by defensive backs, including grabbing the jersey, will be enforced more strictly, including within five yards of the line of scrimmage.
  • The rule prohibiting a defender from initiating contact with a wide receiver more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage will be enforced more strictly.

"They told us there's not going to be a 'healthy five,'" Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara said. "And a 'healthy five' is when, maybe at six [yards from the line of scrimmage] they would have let you get away with it. But now it's going to be a straight five. So we knew they were going to be strict and very adamant and direct and setting the standard that way. So I guess we are going to have to evolve with them. But our coaches still want us to be aggressive."

Giunta said Giants coaches have been evaluating practice tape and showing their defensive backs plays that would have been called penalties in games. The tape from Sunday night is easier. Amukamara was flagged for a five-yard illegal contact call one play before Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was flagged for defensive holding. Later, Zack Bowman was hit with a 14-yard pass interference penalty and Jayron Hosley was called for holding. So everybody seems to have something to work on with regard to this.

"You've just got to correct them in practice and get them to develop their habits in practice, keeping their hands off the receiver after five yards and just get a feel for what the five yards is," Giunta said. "It's hard. And you've got to get a feel for the officiating crew, too, because some of the guys will let you go six or seven and other guys will give you a strict five. They're trying to make it more of a strict five this year."
Cornerback is the deepest and most crowded position group on the New York Giants' roster heading into training camp, and it's going to force some difficult decisions when it comes time to make roster cuts in late August. Conor Orr of NJ.com has broken it down like this:
Based on what we've seen in camp, if we had to rank the position based on how much playing time they'll get, this is what we came up with:

1. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
2. Prince Amukamara
3. Walter Thurmond
4. Zack Bowman
5. Trumaine McBride
6. Charles James
7. Jayron Hosley
8. Bennett Jackson
9. Ross Weaver
10. Travis Howard

But obviously, you don't keep 10 players. The Giants finished with five cornerbacks on the active roster and two on injured reserve last year. It's safe to say at least three, but probably four of these players won't make it out of camp, especially with the need to carry four at the safety spot.

I can't quibble too much with Orr's rankings. I might put McBride ahead of Bowman based on the way he played last year, and Hosley would surely be ahead of James if Hosley weren't suspended for the first four games of the season. But that suspension makes Hosley, who was likely on the roster bubble to begin with, a tough call. Jackson is a draft pick they'd surely like to keep if possible, and he and James have shown an ability to contribute on kick coverage teams, as has Bowman.

My guess is the top five on Orr's list are safe, but that there's likely only room for one more guy, either James or Jackson until Hosley comes back. And when Hosley does come back from suspension, there's likely to be a tough choice between him and whoever made it between James and Jackson.

There's always a possibility that an injury opens up a spot, but if everyone stays healthy, the Giants are going to end up cutting a couple of players of whom they think very highly here.
Not to beat a dead horse here, but...

Hosley
Hosley
If your third-round pick misses four games in his first year because of injury and misses five games in his second year because of injury, and prior to his third year you feel compelled to sign four free agents who play his position, and then he gets suspended for the first four games of that third year for drugs ... Well, you've not made a good third-round pick.

The New York Giants thought they had a potential steal when they took cornerback Jayron Hosley with the 94th pick of the 2012 draft. And the way he played as a slot cornerback for them early in that season backed them up. He had slid in the draft following reports that he tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine. The Giants, coming off their second Super Bowl title in five years, felt they could take the chance on Hosley in the third round -- even after taking one on David Wilson in the first and another on Rueben Randle in the second and right before taking project tight end Adrien Robinson in the fourth.

Hey, you lose some, you lose some.

Hosley wasn't exactly banging his head against the top of the Giants' depth chart at cornerback this offseason. Not after the Giants signed free-agent cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond, Trumaine McBride and Zack Bowman. Heck, they even drafted a cornerback, Notre Dame's Bennett Jackson, in the sixth round. Now, following the news that he will miss the first four games of the season while suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy, Hosley's road to the final roster is tough to see. He's eligible to participate in all offseason practices and preseason games, but man, he's going to have to really dazzle this coaching staff to convince them to keep him around for another 12-game season.

It also bears mentioning that Hosley is the second member of the Giants' secondary to be suspended for substance abuse in the past week, which is a pretty bad pace. Safety Will Hill was waived Monday after receiving his third drug suspension in as many years, and it can't please the people who run the Giants that much of the offseason news of the past week has been about their defensive backs and drugs.

Anyway, OTAs are open to media today, though it appears the practice will be indoors because of weather. I'll be there, of course, and asking questions. Catch up with you a little bit later on.

Giants' last five drafts: 2012

April, 17, 2014
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The NFL draft is three weeks from today, which still gives us plenty of time to talk about what the New York Giants will do with the No. 12 pick and the importance of having their first really good draft in a really long time. But as we ponder all of that, this week we are taking some time to look at the last five Giants' drafts, and today's stop is on 2012, when they were defending Super Bowl champions and did something they hadn't done in more than a decade. They took a running back in the first round.

The Picks

First round (32 overall): David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

Second round (63): Rueben Randle, WR, LSU

Third round (94): Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

Fourth round (127): Adrien Robinson, TE, Cincinnati

Fourth round (131): Brandon Mosley, T, Auburn

Sixth round (201): Matt McCants, T, UAB

Seventh round (239): Markus Kuhn, DT, North Carolina State

Still with Giants: Wilson, Randle, Hosley, Robinson, Mosley, Kuhn

Still in NFL: McCants (Raiders)

Games played for Giants

Wilson: 21

Randle: 32

Hosley: 23

Robinson: 3

Mosley: 13

McCants: 0

Kuhn: 15

Review: Wilson was a revelation as a kick returner during his rookie year but a disappointment when handed the starting running back job in 2013. Two fumbles in the season opener got him benched, and once he was back in good graces, he injured his neck and missed the final 11 games of the season. Should he return healthy and develop into a star, that would help the long-term grade of this draft. But it also could get a boost from Randle, who has an opportunity to replace Hakeem Nicks as the team's playmaking deep threat at wide receiver. Hosley showed something as a nickel corner in 2012 but has had trouble staying healthy and now finds himself well down a stacked depth chart at cornerback. Robinson hasn't been able to get on the field, though they haven't given up on him yet and right now he's probably their projected starter. Mosley couldn't find his way onto the field in spite of massive problems at offensive line last year. They like Kuhn on special teams and think he can help as a rotational player at defensive tackle this year. It's too early to give a definitive grade to anyone's 2012 draft, but the Giants haven't had much immediate early return on this. The extent to which Wilson and Randle develop as offensive playmakers will determine whether this is remembered as a good draft or another in a series of busts. As with the three drafts we've already profiled this week, it doesn't appear as though they turned up anything of major value in the middle rounds.

Grade: C-minus (so far)
On paper, following their flurry of free-agent activity this week, the defensive backfield is the strength of the New York Giants' roster. We say "on paper," because it's March 19 and paper's all we have. The Giants don't play a real game for another five-plus months, which means all we can do is project what we think will happen based on the way everything looks from this far out.

So let's. Let's take a look at the Giants' new secondary, piece-by-piece, to get everybody fired up about how much better it has a chance to be in 2014. Assuming, of course, that they haven't improved it at the expense of the pass rush. Which they may have. But that's a different story for another time. This is about the secondary, whose members now include:

[+] EnlargeAntrel Rolle
AP Photo/Seth WenigIn 2014, Antrel Rolle should see more help in pass coverage given the Giants' additions at cornerback.
Antrel Rolle, safety: The lone remaining defensive captain, Rolle should be well served by the addition of all this cornerback depth. He's been asked to handle too much cornerback duty the past several years due to injuries and depth issues at that position. With everyone they now have at corner, Rolle should be able to stick to safety as he prefers. He's a leader on the Giants' defense, which is the main reason he was never a real candidate to be cut in spite of his whopping $9.25 million cap number. Ideally, he'll be able to switch off seamlessly between strong safety and free safety in the Giants' defensive scheme because his fellow starting safety will be able to handle either role.

Prince Amukamara, CB: I believe Amukamara is a good player. His technique is good, he's willing to mix it up physically, he can tackle, he's willing to help out against the run. Smart, studies hard, keeps himself in excellent shape... solid, all-around player. What I do not think he is is a star cornerback, a "shutdown" type who you can put on the other team's best receiver and expect him to take the guy out of the game. Not a knock, mind you -- there are very few guys like that. Just saying that I think the additions around him will help alleviate some of the pressure and responsibility Amukamara took on himself last year as the team's clear No. 1 corner.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB: He doesn't fit that "shutdown corner" description either, but his speed and athleticism enable Rodgers-Cromartie to make spectacular plays and sometimes even outrun his mistakes. The Giants should be able to split the field with him on one side and Amukamara on the other and feel very good about their chances in coverage. Depending on week-by-week matchups, they can isolate Rodgers-Cromartie in coverage as warranted without having to lean on him as a one-on-one difference-maker every week. He looks up to Rolle, his former Arizona Cardinals teammate, and should benefit from that relationship.

Stevie Brown, safety: When training camp 2013 opened, Brown was coming off an eight-interception breakout season and was talking about his development as a player. The hope was he would evolve into the kind of safety who could switch off with Rolle as Kenny Phillips used to do, and Brown and the team were confident he could. Brown tore his ACL in the 2013 preseason and hasn't played since, so his health will be a question mark going into the year. But if he is healthy, he will get a chance to win back that starting safety spot and show off his ballhawking skills again.

Will Hill, safety: He emerged as the starter opposite Rolle as the 2013 season went on after missing the first four games on a drug suspension. Rolle made the Pro Bowl, but I believed Hill was the better player at times in 2013, which is more a compliment to Hill than it is an insult of Rolle's play. The questions with Hill are of off-field issues, but if he's got his life in order away from the football field, he's a force on it. If Hill stays out of trouble and Brown stays healthy, the Giants have enviable safety depth.

Walter Thurmond, CB: He was one of the cornerbacks called upon to fill a larger role in Seattle last year following the drug suspension of Brandon Browner, and it's generally believed the Seahawks' cornerback play improved. Thurmond is an elite-level talent as a slot cornerback, which is the role he'll likely fill with the Giants, but he's also capable of handling himself on the outside should one of the starters get injured.

Trumaine McBride, CB: The Giants were impressed enough with his 2013 work as an injury-replacement starter that they signed him back on a two-year contract. Undersized but extremely determined, McBride showed an ability to handle himself on the outside and can play the slot as well. He'll function as a reliable backup.

Cooper Taylor, safety: Late-round 2013 draft pick is already a helper on special teams, and with all of the veteran safeties they have in front of him, he can take his time developing as a defensive player.

Jayron Hosley, CB: The Giants' 2012 third-rounder has been slow to develop due to health issues. The Giants liked him as a slot corner option when they picked him, but he's got to show a lot to stay in the long-range plans at this point.

Quintin Demps, safety: Signed primarily as a kick returner, he's a last-resort option if injuries dictate that he fill in at safety. He did start six games there for Kansas City in 2013.

Charles James, CB: Saw some work in the return game last preseason, but they have other guys for that now. James has some value as a special teams player but will have to fight his way up the depth chart.
The New York Giants have reached an agreement with cornerback Trumaine McBride on a two-year, $3.1 million deal, per ESPN and media reports.

McBride
It's a nice re-signing for the Giants. After a year out of the league in 2012, McBride joined the Giants in 2013 and found himself a starting cornerback following injuries to Corey Webster and Aaron Ross, and he played much better than expected. He was likely to draw interest from other teams had he hit the open market at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, so if he's a guy the Giants liked, good for them for keeping that from happening. If nothing else, he's an insurance policy in case they get shut out in their pursuit of a top free-agent cornerback or can't find one early in the draft.

But signing McBride should not deter the Giants from those pursuits. They have expressed interest in several of the top cornerbacks on the market, and they would be much better off in the secondary if they could land someone like Alterraun Verner or Captain Munnerlyn or one of the many cornerbacks hitting the market Tuesday afternoon. That would enable them to use McBride as the nickel corner or as a reliable backup to their inside and outside starters. That's the ideal role for a guy like McBride. The Giants used him as a starter in 2013 and know they can do it again in a pinch, but their preference would be to get a premier guy who pushes McBride down the depth chart a bit, strengthening them overall at this important position.

It appears as though veteran Terrell Thomas, who served as the Giants' nickel corner in 2013, will hit the open market. 2012 third-round pick Jayron Hosley is still looked at as a guy who can play the nickel, but injuries have hampered his development.
I saw that Michael Rothstein, our Detroit Lions team reporter, took a look at the way the defensive backs performed at this year's NFL scouting combine. So, since the New York Giants are picking two picks behind the Lions in the first round (and two picks ahead of them in the second), and since the Giants have drafted a total of six defensive backs in the first three rounds over the past nine years, I figured I'd steal Mike's post and let you guys look at it for some possible names.

Yes, the Giants' primary focus this offseason is going to be on fixing what John Mara called a "broken" offense. And yes, I still think the best use of their prime resources (meaning free-agent dollars and early-round draft picks) would be on the offensive line. But if they get to the draft with a lot of their offensive questions answered via free agency, and if the value dictates that they pick defense early, their history indicates that they will select a cornerback or a safety in one of the early rounds.

Could they use that No. 12 overall pick on a defensive back? It's not a crazy idea. They seem deep at safety right now, but they are looking for a starting cornerback to pair with Prince Amukamara. Corey Webster is surely gone, and while Trumaine McBride did a decent job as a starter last year, he's not likely a long-term answer. Jayron Hosley, their third-round pick from 2012, showed some flashes as a rookie, but health issues have kept him from developing into anything more than a possible answer in the slot.

Anyway, from more than two months out, the guys to keep an eye on in the first round would be Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert and Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard. And I know my "NFL Insiders" colleague Louis Riddick likes Lindenwood's Pierre Desir, the broad-jump star, as a later-round pick. You guys always ask for names, Mike has hooked you up. Enjoy.

Combine watch: CB Justin Gilbert

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
10:00
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With the NFL scouting combine set to begin this week, we're taking a look at a handful of prospects the New York Giants might consider with the No. 12 pick in the first round. After profiling offensive players in each of our first four installments, today we finally look at a defensive player.

Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Why they'd take him: The Giants desperately need to improve on offense this offseason, but that doesn't mean they can ignore the defense completely. They appear to be done with Corey Webster, and while Trumaine McBride played well last year, he didn't necessarily solidify himself as the long-term starter opposite Prince Amukamara. 2012 third-rounder Jayron Hosley hasn't developed much, and starting a pair of young first-round picks at cornerback isn't a bad-sounding idea in today's pass-happy NFL. Amukamara looks like a solid player, but he's not a dominant, shut-down type of corner. Strong play on the opposite side of the field would only help him.

Where he ranks: Our pre-draft rankings have Gilbert as the No. 12 overall player and the No. 1 cornerback. Mel Kiper's latest mock draft Insider has him going No. 10 to the Lions. Todd McShay's latest mock draft Insider has him going No. 21 to the Packers.

Something positive (via ESPN's scouting report): "Excellent height and weight combination (6-0 1/4, 199 lbs) and appears to have long arms for the position."

Something negative: "Will relax on occasion and can lose leverage as a result. Will gamble jumping routes which can make him vulnerable to double moves at times."

History: The last time the Giants took a cornerback in the first round was 2011, when they took Nebraska's Amukamara with the No. 19 pick. They took Aaron Ross in the first round in 2007 and Terrell Thomas in the second round a year later.

Hosley could get start at cornerback

December, 13, 2013
12/13/13
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jayron Hosley may make his second career start at cornerback for the New York Giants on Sunday, when they host the Seattle Seahawks.

Corey Webster will miss his sixth consecutive game due to an ankle injury. Trumaine McBride has started in place of Webster much of the season, but Hosley replaced McBride in the second half last week against the San Diego Chargers.

"He could," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin on Friday, when asked if Hosley could start against the Seahawks. "I’m just trying to get as many guys that can help us win on the field. He performed OK [last week], and so did McBride. The more, the merrier. They’ll both play."

With the Giants already eliminated from playoff contention, thoughts naturally turn to 2014. Webster, who's only played in four games this season due to injury, likely won't be back. Right now, McBride and Hosley are competing for that job.

McBride has been a pleasant surprise, signing with the Giants back in January after not even playing in 2012. The Giants had higher expectations for Hosley, who was the team's third-round draft pick in 2012, 94th overall. He led the country in interceptions (9) as a sophomore at Virginia Tech in 2010.

Hosley also has had a hard time staying on the field. He missed five games in the middle of this season due to a hamstring injury.

"It’s been tough, but most importantly you just gotta keep fighting," Hosley said Friday. It’s football, injuries are gonna happen."

Hosley says he's healthy now, and ready to show what he can do.

"I’d be a fool to say that I’ve shown my best," Hosley said. "Whether I’m starting or not, there’s always room for improvement. The best is still yet to come."

Hosley played well in his first start -- two weeks ago against the Washington Redskins, when McBride was hurt -- with four tackles and a pass defended.

The Giants can't make the playoffs this year, but perhaps, over these final few games, they can find out what Hosley really can do.

Giants' inactives are as expected

December, 1, 2013
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LANDOVER, Md. -- No surprises on the New York Giants' list of inactive players for Sunday night's game against the Redskins here at FedEx Field. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, running back Brandon Jacobs and cornerbacks Corey Webster and Trumaine McBride were all ruled out Friday, quarterback Ryan Nassib is always inactive and the other two are backup offensive lineman Stephen Goodin and tight end Adrien Robinson, who's been inactive all year.

Jayron Hosley starts at the left cornerback spot that used to be Webster's and has been McBride's in recent weeks. Mathias Kiwanuka starts at right defensive end in place of Pierre-Paul, though you can probably look for rookie Damontre Moore to get into the mix at defensive end at some point. And with centers David Baas and Jim Cordle both on injured reserve and out for the season, Kevin Boothe will start at center while James Brewer replaces Boothe at left guard. Peyton Hillis, inactive the past two weeks, will replace Jacobs as the backup running back when starter Andre Brown needs a break.

The issues in the secondary, where the Giants' only healthy cornerbacks are Hosley, Prince Amukamara, Terrell Thomas and raw rookie Charles James, could be helped by the injury issues the Redskins are having on offense. Dynamic rookie tight end Jordan Reed, who missed last week's game with a concussion, was initially expected to play tonight but was ruled inactive after experiencing a pregame headache. And fullback Darrel Young, an unsung key to the running game and the success of Alfred Morris, is also inactive due to a hamstring injury. Evan Royster is listed as the starter at fullback in Young's place, but that likely means the Redskins will change some things about the way they call plays in the run game.

Reed is the No. 2 target of quarterback Robert Griffin III in the passing game, and his absence means the Giants should be able to commit extra attention to top wideout Pierre Garcon due to the lack of scary options behind him.

Much more as the night progresses here at FedEx Field.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The news that New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and cornerbacks Trumaine McBride and Corey Webster are out for Sunday's game against the Redskins means the Giants will have to do some interesting juggling of their defensive lineup. Webster's injury doesn't sound like it matters much by now, as he's missed almost the whole year, but the Giants had been hoping he could practice enough to fill in for an injured McBride, who has become the starter in Webster's absence. He did not, and now the Giants are left with four healthy cornerbacks for Sunday's game -- Prince Amukamara, Terrell Thomas, Jayron Hosley and untested rookie Charles James.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said starting Hosley in McBride's place (and, presumably, leaving Thomas in the slot) would be a "strong consideration." Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said he thinks Hosley could handle it.

"Jayron has good cover skills," Fewell said. "I think he's a good matchup for some of the quick guys they have in their lineup. So I don't think we'll miss a beat from that standpoint, as far as the quickness and the matchups are concerned."

The issue may be one of depth, as the Giants have very little behind their starters right now if one of them gets hurt or if they decide to go into the kind of dime package that found safety Antrel Rolle overwhelmed in coverage on the Cowboys' final drive of the game Sunday. But the Redskins aren't as loaded with scary receiving threats as the Cowboys are. After top wideout Pierre Garcon, their No. 1 weapon in the receiving corps is rookie tight end Jordan Reed, who missed last week's game with a concussion and is questionable for Sunday.

Up front, where they will look to pressure Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III into the types of mistakes everyone watched him make Monday night against the 49ers, the Giants will obviously miss Pierre-Paul. They could move defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins out to play defensive end (and activate defensive tackle Markus Kuhn for the first time all year to spell Jenkins in the DT rotation), or they could imply increase the snap counts for defensive ends Mathias Kiwanuka or Damontre Moore. But Fewell doesn't think it's as simple as someone stepping into Pierre-Paul's spot.

"Theirs is a difficult offense for any defensive end, because it's a read-option offense, a play-action offense," Fewell said. "They do a number of different things to make the defensive ends think. So it's quite difficult."

The key for the 49ers against Griffin on Monday was their ability to invade the backfield quickly on seemingly every play. The Giants don't have the same kinds of players in their defensive front seven that the 49ers do. (Few teams do, if any, now that Aldon Smith is back in the lineup.) But they'll still need to find a way to get pressure and take some of the burden off their depleted secondary.

Jayron Hosley has return in his sights

November, 15, 2013
11/15/13
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- For more than a month, Jayron Hosley has only been able to watch the New York Giants play on Sundays.

A nagging hamstring has sidelined him for the past five games, robbing him of valuable opportunities in his sophomore campaign.

Hosley
Hosley
"It was tough," Hosley said. "You prepare every week to be ready to play. When you go down with a hamstring, it could be prevented sometimes. It happened. You got to roll with the punches. Keep fighting."

Over the past few weeks, his health has improved, inching him closer and closer to a return. Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Packers, Hosley might finally get back in on the action.

For the first time since suffering his hamstring injury against the Chiefs on Sept. 29, Hosley practiced fully all week and isn't on the injury report. That bodes well for his availability for Sunday's game.

"I'm very, very, very anxious, man," Hosley said. "Very focused. Very hungry just to be out there with my team and contribute any way I can."

It's been a rough season for Hosley as the hamstring injury has prevented him from being a key contributor to the Giants in 2013. The 2012 third-round pick played in the first four games, with the hamstring flaring up in the fourth contest against Kansas City. It's been a lengthy recovery period since then.

Last week against Oakland, Hosley practiced during the week and was listed as questionable, but was declared inactive for the eventual Giants victory. Hosley didn't talk to the coaches about the decision. The Giants' staff possibly could have believed Hosley wasn't healthy enough yet to take the field.

Hosley isn't focused on last week's game and the decision to keep him inactive, and he's itching to get back on the field and help the team against the Packers. Hosley has yet to record a tackle this season, and he will likely be the fourth cornerback when he plays in his next game.

"Whenever I get my chance I'm going to be ready. That's part of the game," Hosley said. "Being ready when a man goes down. Next guy has to step up."

Practice report: Victor Cruz not in red

November, 8, 2013
11/08/13
12:32
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants receiver Victor Cruz (neck) practiced Friday without a red non-contact jersey during the portion of practice open to the media, a great sign for his availability for Sunday's game against Oakland. Cruz had worn the red jersey on Thursday for a limited practice, and didn't work out on Wednesday.

Cornerback Trumaine McBride (groin), who missed Thursday, was working out and should be set for Sunday. Corner Corey Webster (groin) did not practice and it appears he won't play Sunday. McBride has replaced Webster as the starter.

Running back Brandon Jacobs (hamstring/knee) was not working out and his status for Sunday could be in doubt. He was limited the previous two days.

Jayron Hosley (hamstring), Terrell Thomas (knee) and Adrien Robinson (foot) were practicing during the open portion.

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